Archive for April, 2012

Chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp

Monday, April 30th, 2012

What? You want me to stop playing Bejeweled and try to actually write a blahg post? Yaaaahh, okay. I’ll try. I do not know what to write about and I am not sure I am in the mood to blather away about mostly nothing today. So let’s change the universe…

Let’s make “working from home” a *real* option for most of the folks on the planet. Or if not from home exactly, from cool work “centers” that are a walking or bicycling distance from home. We have too many damn automotive vee-hickles on the roads and that is not a good thing. Driving should be fun! It is not fun when you are sitting through four traffic light cycles. I also know that there are issues about how much energy large server “farms” use. I am not very smart but I am guessing that people who are smart are studying this too. I can only *guess* that server farms use less energy than the massive numbers of cars that people use to commute to jobs that they could do somewhere else.

As a society, we *need* to have fewer vee-hickles on the roads. But I love to drive and I don’t want to give up that privilege, at least not until I am 90 and might need to, heaven forbid. So, why can’t we redesign our cities so that driving is [largely] a fun activity and people can walk, bike, or take a bus/train/hovercraft to work. Last winter when I was hanging out with The Commander in the small city of Sault Ste. Siberia, I frequently walked to the hoosegow and/or FV and/or various restaurants and/or grokkery stores and whatever. In short, I walked all over that city. I couldn’t walk to Waldemort or Glen’s but [mostly] I didn’t need Waldemort or Glen’s. I certainly used my vee-hickle when I needed to. But as horrible as this last winter was for mom and me, I will always remember those walking trips with fondness. Walking kept me sane.

Keep it movin’

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

I love this story playing on NPR right now. A man’s wife dies after a long illness and the next morning, he finds his young children getting ready for school. He questions them, saying, “You don’t have to go to school today. Mommy just died yesterday.” His daughter says, “We are going to school because Mommy would want us to keep it movin’.” (“Keep it movin'” was a favorite saying of the mom.)

That’s how I feel. Keep it movin’. It reminds me of the morning so long ago when we received the news that the beach urchins’ beloved Grandma Sally had died. They were in 4th and 1st grade and I told them that they didn’t have to go to school if they didn’t want to. I had some sort of half-baked plan to go out for breakfast and, oh I don’t know what else. Drive down by the river or whatever. They were having nothing of that. Of course they were going to school. They *had* to go to school. “We can’t miss school!” Okay. So they went to school. And *I* went to school too. To read to my “pirates”. After school we went out and got the beach urchins’ ears pierced.

I am keeping it movin’. I don’t think that keeping it movin’ means never slowing down enough to look back and remember people that are gone. I think it means continuing to put one foot in front of the other. Moving forward. Keeping up with our responsibilities and our relationships with the *living*. The pace may be slower on some days than others and it is okay to take little breaks when you need them but onward is the name of the game.

I am feeling pretty good about things this weekend. (Knock on wood for me please!) We have actually made enough progress in our flinging activities that I was even able to do a little bit of *cleaning*. I mean cleaning in the areas of the Landfill that aren’t cleaned as a matter of daily routine. Cleaning kitchens and bathrooms is a *requirement* for me. I can live with a little lot of dust in other areas. My goal is to get rid of enough “stuff” that I can *easily* clean any nook and cranny of the Landfill that I want to, without moving a whole bunch of stuff. But rodent turds *anywhere* send me into a fury. And so I was flinging books (mostly around, not out) in the Landfill Dungeon and I discovered rodent turds in yet another place. Off I went, looking for the rickety old Eureka canister-style vacuum and some windex or whatever. But as I was galumphing up the stairs, I heard the vacuum cleaner start up. The GG was cleaning out my cute little Ninja. Probably about the first time the poor little thing has been vacuumed since maybe a year and a half ago. No way was I gonna disturb that activity!

I have to give the GG a big bunch of kudos here. He has also been flinging and he’s been helping me fling some of The Commander’s stuff that I’m sure she had her own plans to fling… AND. He vacuumed out the Ninja today and mowed the grass in the back yard (new grass in the front) and did all kinds of other maintenance-type things too numerous to list.

Plus we started the day (I guess I am going backwards through the day) with a loverly urban hike from the Landfill up to and through Bird Hills park, picked up the Washtenaw Border to Border Trail at Barton Dam and hiked along the river to one of our fave breakfast joints, the Northside Grille. Back home through Kerrytown, up Miller, and through Miller Woods, where we encountered the loverly bracket fungus in the photoooo.

Bracket fungus seems to be a good way to end this higgledy-piggledy entry.

Hope your weekend was good. Love,

Fried moe-skee-toe and a black-eyed pea

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

It’s Saturday and… The band is playin’… And we are here on The Planet and I wanted to fling today and I did. The problem is that I flung enough stuff last weekend that I couldn’t exactly think of where to start today… The GG has done some of his own flinging and thanks to him, the Frog Hopper was full of old computers and things that we had planned to drop off at Pioneer High for the annual Umich electronics recycling event. Alas, we were wrong about that date. It’s next week. But we *were* able to drop off the old World Book encyclopedia that my parents “invested” in back in the 1960s (who knew about the darn intertubes back then) and a bunch of plastic containers of varying sizes at the Kiwanis Club. Yay for those wonderful people. The old computers will stay in the Frog Hopper until next weekend and then we *will* drop them off.

About 10:00 AM or whenever, the GG grabbed a stool and started looking up in the area of the “liqwire” “cabinet”, which means on top of those gold-painted cabinets on the south wall of the Landfill Chitchen. And I remembered, oh yeah, just last weekend I was thinking about getting rid of all that liqwire that we don’t ever use. Like kirsch and cassis and schnapps and creme de cacao and even that one bottle of tequila that only has a couple of shots in it.

So, while the GG was sleeping or reading or whatever, I dumped a whole bunch of liqwire down the drain. Yes. It is stuff that most people would not want to sit around and drink. Some of those bottles were purchased because a recipe required a small amount and we used that and they’ve been hanging around here for ten or fifteen years.

Wasteful? Maybe. I am not leaving old liqwire for my kids to clean up.

If I ever again use a recipe that requires a small amount of some odd kind of liqwire, I will go out and try to buy the airplane size. Usually that’s about all that’s needed.

And so, these little bottles were collected by my dad over the years and when The Comm was forced to move to assisted living we helped her move them down there. I think her idea (and mine) was that she would have a teensy little snort while watching a movie before going to bed. It is sad that she was never again in good enough health to be able to partake. So these little bottles are now here at the Landfill.

Hey Mabel! Black Label! Carling’s Black Label beer.

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Yes, we were out Oscar Tangoing tonight. Beer was not our drink of choice. I reserve beer for afternoons on the moominbeach or, if it’s too cold for the beach, the hollow in front of the Old Cabin. Anyway, you know you want to remember Mabel! Or you can go back a few years and then there is this from the 80s. Do they still sell Carling’s? Seems like I am always either buying paying for <wink> Bell’s Oberon or a six-pack of carefully selected microbrew beers with cute cow or wombat or fledermaus labels <grin>.

The Oscar Tango is an old barroooom and it has a one-terlet ladies powder room so if there is somebody in there when you have to go, you have to wait outside. Fortunately, the OT has thoughtfully hung a loverly vintage know-your-presidents (and some admirals and things) infographic outside the ladies powder room. So, if you find yourself waiting outside the OT ladies loo, you can attempt to re-learn all of the history you don’t remember from fourth grade. I could’ve spent a longer time re-learning the presidents tonight but the woman I was waiting for was in and outta there just about as fast as yer fav-o-rite blahgger usually is. I guess maybe she grew up with an outhouse too?

That accident last night? Apparently a man had a medical crisis of some sort, passed out and ran a red light (some witnesses estimate at 60 mph or thereabouts) before hitting the victim’s vee-hickle. Very scary. I keep thinking that we walked by that intersection maybe 20 minutes before it happened and npJane met us at Knight’s probably minutes before. Given the hosed state of traffic in the area, she very likely drove *through* that intersection. And then there’s Mouse, who was invited to meet us but had to work… There was still shattered glass all over the intersection when I went to work this morning. Just because you have a green light doesn’t always mean it is safe to go…

I am rambling incoherently but I can’t leave that as my last paragraph. We will be flinging this weekend. Or at least I will. We were all set to haul a whole bunch of old TVs and things over to Pi-Hi tomorrow when we figured out that the free electronics recycling event was *next* Saturday. Well, duh. That would make sense since the U of M’s graduation is tomorrow and traffic on that whole side of town will be hosed even worse than it already is.

Good night and happy flinging. It is hard. Do it anyway. And no, nobody wants your carefully curated hoard of old TV sets. Your vintage Sony Trinitron is not a collector’s item and neither is mine. Get rid of it.

No gifts <wink>yet</wink> but not a bad birthday, I don’t think.

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Just to be clear, it is not my birthday. That happened on a cold night in January. I went to Ang-gio’s Italian restaurant in Sault Ste. Siberia with my cuzzints, the mean old grunchie old Grinchie and npJane. I didn’t get any presents besides dinner but I didn’t care because I am in a deacquisitional phase of my life these days and I didn’t need anything. I had a good time except for the part where I had to head back down to the hoosegow afterwards. I think that was the first day that we didn’t have to “suit up” to avoid (c. diff) infection so that was a good thing.

Anyway, this birthday is the GG’s (and his loverly twin of terror, the UU). It was a low-key birthday for him but I think that was okay (and I have what I think is a cool gift on order for him). We walked over to our neighborhood pub / steakhouse and npJane met us there and she is always a good time. We paid the bill quite a long time before we left and were a bit surprised that it was 10 PM when we got home.

And on the way home, this photo is what we encountered, at the Dexter / Maple intersection. I do not know what happened. I hope no one was seriously injured. (Update: Yuck. The accident happened shortly after we got to Knight’s and a man died.) I don’t know what happened. These are streets with 30-35 mph speed limits. And Dexter is largely closed for construction for the next few months. Alas, this is the second traffic fatality in our city today, the first being a pedestrian who was hit by a semi truck on the I94 18-wheel Clogway earlier today. Witnesses say they didn’t think the truck driver could’ve avoided hitting him without endangering other vee-hickles…

Anyway, the GG marveled that facebook sent so many birthday fishes his way. He also received several phone calls during dinner and I received my own call from the Goddess Esther who was one of The Commander’s best friends in life and has been checking in with me for the last year.

I am about done for tonight but HB Twins of Terror!

The Trillium Bandit

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

I could never tell this story while The Commander was alive because it would have absolutely mortified her. My mother was a strict rule-follower who I do not think *ever* told a lie in her life. Well there was that whole thing about how she and Grandroobly were gonna buy motorcycles and drive them to Yellow Knife but we’ll save that story for another entry some other time…

Once upon a time we were up in the Yooperland in the spring and we went on a day trip down to the Les Cheneaux area. The GG rode in Grandroobly’s vee-hickle and I drove The Commander in The Indefatigable, which was new then. We were all a lot newer then <grin>. I fergit which vee-hickle the kids rode in. Maybe there was one in each. That would’ve prevented sibling fights and I don’t remember any of those that day.

Anyway… On the way back to “Grandma’s Other House the Real House Where She Lives Some of the Days”, we took a little drive down Rockview Road to look for a good trillium plant because The Comm had a hankering to dig one up. And we found one right by the side of the road! The Commander watched warily for any kind of traffic on this deserted old gravel road as she got her bucket and trowel out of the back of The Indefatigable and dug up her treasure. My mother would have been extremely embarrassed if she had been caught by a Michigan DNR Conservation Officer while digging up a plant and taking it out of the woods. Her brother was the director of the MI DNR back when I was a kid. He died in 1972 and I wonder if she was feeling him looking over her shoulder. Actually, he probably wouldn’t have said a word, just like the time he stood on the moominbeach and watched Duke and Doc Read pull a fish trip (or whatever) out of the lake.

At any rate, The Commander dug up a trillium plant and took it back to her house and we all aided and abetted that little “criminal” operation. And we didn’t get caught. According to this website, it is illegal to *pick* trillium flowers. It doesn’t say anything about digging them up. Although it is really not a good idea to disturb plants and things in the woods. But this plant was right there on the shoulder of the road and I bet that snowplows sometimes plow through there and accidentally plow over trillium plants. Plus, someday somebody may decide to actually *pave* Rockview Road and we all know that means many plants will be destroyed. I don’t know if that trillium plant still lives but I think The Commander did a pretty good deed out there that day.

But I will never forget how she was looking around for anyone coming down the road who might CATCH HER RED-HANDED!!!


Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

One of my favorite “Mouse” stories (indulge me here Mouse) happened when she was about five. We were at one of our favorite places, the Gerald E Eddy Discovery Geology Center. We were with some second cuzzints and other assorted relations and we hiked to the floating bog (google it if you want, I cannot find a link that I like).

It was winter and Mouse was dressed in a black velour dress, black tights, and uber-cute fashionable black leather boots, i.e., NOT hiking boots. And a ski jacket et al. One of the older relatives remarked that Mouse was not exactly dressed in hiking attire. And that was not exactly untrue except that… First, this was not really a “hike”. It was maybe a half mile walk on a wide, heavily-traveled path with no snow. Second, Mouse had not dressed for a hike that day. She was wearing a horse costume! Yes. Black Velvet (or whatever). She cantered along the trail like any beautiful young filly would do.

That said, we had a wonderful time that day and it is a very good memory for me, just in case any of those relations are reading this and I’m sure they are <grin>. It is a little glimpse into the very complicated person my younger child is. And aren’t all of our children complicated? They are people and people are complicated. I certainly am and so was The Commander…

Yerp… I am feeling a bit old today, maybe for the first time in my life. I don’t think it is so much because my “baby” has reached a quarter century but because I am now the oldest (and only) of my generation in my branch of both the Fin and Mac families. It can be lonely being in this particular space sometimes but I have a husband and children and cuzzints and there are a few beloved aunts and uncles left and enough in-laws to fill a stadium. And I have a job and a few friends and a couple of houses to clear out (that includes my own) and a crapload of paperwork to try to get a better handle on and *lots* of hiking and stuff to do. So I am going on…

HBQC Mouse. Love to everyone,
Kayak Woman

Snake holes

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

The Nevada / Utah travelers returned today and given the fact that the Frog Hopper was getting blown around on the I94 18-wheel Clogway on the way to Daytwa Metro, I wasn’t surprised to hear that their landing had been interesting. I noticed that airplanes were taking off, well “differently” is the only way I can describe it. Different direction and a steeper climb. I figured it was because of the wind. In some dusty cobwebby old part of my brain a few little thoughts about the physics of aviation tried desperately to surface. From flying in little Cessnas with my dad when I was a kid? Or from 4th grade science. I wish I could remember. Ailerons anyone?

I had no problem with the GG and Mouse flying out to Vegas and driving over to Zion to hike / camp. Fine. Go. They are both adults. Mouse will be 25 tomorrow. This was a birthday present for her. Actually I was thinking *she* might keep track of the GG… I was looking forward to being spacified for the weekend. It was all cool. Then somebody commented about snakebite kits on one of Mouse’s facebook posts. Oh, yeah, that’s right. They are not going to be in the Great Lake State. Where we really don’t have rattle snakes except for the Massasauga rattlesnake and those are really rare so we don’t really think about snakes much around here. So, I went [silently, mostly] into full-tilt-boogie moom mode. What if somebody gets bitten by a snake?

What usually happens with me is that I drop somebody off at Metro and I see that planes are flying in and out with no problem and airport workers are being shuttled from their far-flung parking lots to their jobs and the police are either standing around blowing whistles and harassing people or ignoring the long line of cars “standing” in the “no standing” zone. People like me. I sat there and “played” zen-style Bejeweled on my phone until the GG finally texted that they had retrieved their baggage and were on the curb somewhere.

I got derailed there somewhere. After I dropped my travelers off at Metro at 5:00 AM last Thursday, I drove home and a bit later, when I was taking my walk, I saw a couple of west-bound planes go over my neighborhood and I figgered one of those was carrying Mouse and the GG. And I knew that they would be okay and would have a good time. I was still a bit worried snakes but I did my best to squelch that.

Anyway, they landed in Las Vegas and drove over to Zion National Park in Utah and it wasn’t until tonight that I finally figured out the geography of that trip. They saw many lizards but they did not see any snakes and a post-trip google by the GG on the way back to the Planet Ann Arbor seemed to reveal that snakes are not a particular problem.

Mouse took the photooo. She took a lot of really good pics (so did the GG). Mouse has posted some of them on facebook. She wore a dress (or skirt maybe) for a lot of these hiking adventures. I usually don’t hike in a skirt but I love to wear skirts and I think I will try that in the near future. Lots of feminists out there might not agree with this but that is a whole ‘nother blahg entry and I am not going there tonight.

Love you all,

“You run down to the lake with a bucket, fill it up and run back up”

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

That is a quote from my old coot. It is his definition of “running water”. By the time I made my appearance in this cold cruel world, we had running water at the beach. I mean real running water out of a tap. It came from a garden hose hooked up to my uncle’s well. It was cold water. If we needed hot water, we heated it in big teakettles on our stoves. We did have lucky-shucky. Oh, you need to use the bathroom? Well, just head out the back door and take the path to the back 40. Watch out for luna moths.

Today. I am not living in posh circumstances by any stretch of the imagination. There is only one bathroom here at the Landfill, the Blue and Only. That’s all we really need but that would be a whole ‘nother story. And one that’s a bit beside the point.

I am writing this from my iPad. It isn’t because my MacBook Pro is acting up again. It is not. I was on and off it throughout the day in between cleaning and flinging activities. About 2:00 this afternoon, I was surfing along and I tried to google something. I could not get to google. Okay… Unplug and replug all of the hubs and switches and things. Over and over and over… The cable bill is paid and I do not think it is a service provider problem.

I am cranky about this but I am not gonna sweat it. The network guy will be home tomorrow and he’ll probably figure out what’s wrong pretty quickly. A few years ago I would’ve been freaking out. No internet! Yikes! But nowadays, if the wifi in my house doesn’t work, I can always connect to the Internet via my iPhone or iPad.

First world problems… Good night. KW.

Update: The internet was still down when I got up at 0-skunk-30 this morning. When I got back from my walk, I was about to faaaarrrr up my iPad and I happened to glance over at the “switch” or whatever it is. Miraculously, the light was GREEN. So the internet is back just as randomly as it left and I still have NO idea what the blasted problem was.

Thud! Thud! Thud! Clonk clonk clonk!

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

What the heck is all that noise? Well. That is yer fav-o-rite blahgger knocking on wood BIGTIME. Those clonks at the end are my HEAD banging on wood. Why? Because I canceled my “Genius” Bar appointment this morning. Why? Because a couple hours before the appointment, I decided, on a whim, to power up the dern MacBookPro lemon. And guess what? The trackpad that was totally unresponsive a couple days ago WORKED! But wait a minute. Not so fast… When the trackpad on this MacBookPro lemon decides to go south, it USUALLY works for maybe about 10 seconds (tick-tock tick-tock) before it decides to quit. This time? Well, I dunno. tick-tock tick-tock tick-tock… The trackpad still worked… My appointment at the “Genius” Bar was at 11:15 and it was about 8:45. I decided to wait until 10:45 before making the decision to cancel. tick-tock tick-tock tick-tock. At 10:45 the trackpad was still completely functional. I canceled and now, seven hours later, so far so good… But I am waiting with bated breath. Fortunately, I have a backup computing device. Or two. Or five. But my MacBook Pro is still the mother ship.

And so, some people are out hiking Zion National Park but yer fav-o-rite blahgger is a “career girl” (an epithet I remember from childhood) and doesn’t get to take time off for boondoggles like that so she is spending her weekend picking away at flinging and cleaning the Landfill. I was asked earlier in the week if I wanted to buy a different house. The answer is complicated but I have to land at no. The Landfill is cluttered and tired and I am pretty much sick to death of it in a lot of ways. But. 1) There is a woods behind my house. 2) I can easily walk to my fav-o-rite grokkery store from here. 3) I can also walk to Knight’s Steakhouse, where they make the best ‘hattans anywhere except home. 4) It is a “safe” neighborhood, where I can walk in the dark and not feel afraid. (Yes, I know that bad people occasionally visit “safe” neighborhoods and I am always watchful.) We *could* buy another house if we wanted to and I know there are many people who move frequently and think it’s no big deal. But I have some different requirements than some others. And we also have the group home at Houghton Lake and the cabin on the moominbeach so the Landfill is kind of like a mother ship for us. We spend most of our time here but we have other places to go.

Still. I am tired of my house and I want to change it. I will probably not be able to do that until I get more of the flotsam and jetsam and cosmic debris out of it. I’m working on it. I felt like I went about six steps backward after the last trip to The Commander’s house. But one day at a time. I worked on it today. I will work on it tomorrow. Maybe the upcoming computer/electronics drop-off events will make me feel better about my progress… I figure that any house we might be able to afford to buy would have things I wouldn’t like so…


Friday, April 20th, 2012

“There are no Jury Trials scheduled this week. All Groups are dismissed – your service is complete. Thank You!” Thank YOU!

I know, I know. I should be eager to do my civic duty. But I have been called sooooo many times. The procedure here in Washtenaw County is:

  1. A prospective juror receives a “questionnaire” and is threatened with all manner of gloom and doom if it isn’t sent back by a certain date. This part has improved in the last few years and I was able to complete the “questionnaire” online.
  2. If they select you, you receive (some [random] time later) a summons to appear on yet another apparently randomly selected date. That is, if you are not the Grumpy Growler, you do. He received a “questionnaire” a couple years ago but I do not remember him ever kvetching about having to serve. Maybe he folded, spindled, or mutilated his “questionnaire”?
  3. You cannot “get out” of jury duty in this county. You are allowed ONE (count it) postponement. If the NEXT date you are called to serve is also inconvenient, you are out of luck. Even if you are (say) a college student who lives out of town for all practical purposes.
  4. But… (a bright spot!) A lot of times there are either no trials scheduled or there is a trail trial scheduled but the legal beagles are using the threat of a trial to encourage the miscreants agree to settle out of court.

I lucked out this time. No trials are scheduled. Thank you god or whoever. I have had to go down there and sit on previous occasions. Me, who HATES to WAIT! You SIT with a bunch of other people in whatever room they feel like stashing you in and the judge du jour gives a little speech about how important you are and blah-de blah-de. I’m okay with that except for the time there was a flabby old pompous-ass judge who yelled at the [very nice and professional] woman who was checking jurors in for something that was obviously beyond her control. I wanted to tell that old windbag to take a hike. Fortunately not all of our judges are that arrogant.

That incident was a number of years ago and I didn’t have a laptop yet but I had a cell phone and I know that I had my cell phone with me in there and so did many other people. Nowadays you cannot take that kind of stuff in there with you. There was a security desk back then but I think they were only checking for I dunno maybe weapons? Nowadays? I’m not sure I can take my iPhone or iPad or laptop in there with me. Y’all may know that might be a problem… The last time I had to sit down there, I worked on a school prodject on my laptop. I’m not sure what has changed since then. Certainly no one has deliberately flown a plane into a skyscraper since then. So why the increased security?

I don’t want to veer off into my own not very well thought out ideas about “homeland” security tonight. I think I prefer to spend the weekend basking in the knowledge that I can do whatever I want on Monday, which I guess means I will go to work. Because they are paying me, don’tcha know…

Staying away from toilets

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

I am absolutely drowning in papers and rules and regulations and flotsam and jetsam and cosmic debris this week.

I was doing so well with my flinging prodject (intentionally misspelled) and then we brought home a bunch of stuff from The Commander’s house and now my house looks like a tornado hit it. I have to go through that stuff carefully. I can’t just fling things in envelopes without reading them. I mean, back when my great-aunt Ann (I am NOT named after her. She was wonderful to all of us but… Grrrr…) was moved out of her apartment, the then vibrant G2 family members who cleaned it out found envelopes everywhere with dollar bills, etc., in them. Total take? I don’t remember but it was a grand or two or three. That was a lot of money back in those days. The Comm did NOT squirrel away cash like that. I am looking for other stuff in her correspondence. Moom, I will *not* throw anything away until I have read it and thought about it. Please know that…

So what else… There are a few things but the main thing is that I am writing this blahg entry from my ancient (2007) white MacBook. I gave this computer to The Commander when she moved into Freighter View. I bought my new MacBook Pro lemon last June and I figured that if I stripped all of the crap off of my old (working) MacBook, it would be a good computer for The Commander. And it was. For a while… I have it back now and although I don’t really need it in the grand scheme of things, it is useful for the moment since I can’t use my fancy new MacBook Pro lemon.

I neeeeeeed a spanner!

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

I do not think I could count the number of printer / spanner thingies hanging around the Landfill at the moment if I tried. Do you think I can find one that will actually talk to my MacBook Pro? Noooooo… The $99 special I got when I bought my laptop is dead in the water, sitting out on the bench by the front door waiting to get dumped off at the recycle. It lasted about six months. There is another printer / spanner type thing here that I seem to be able to send print jobs to but I can’t make it span. (Yes, I am misspelling “scanner” on purpose. What were you thinking?)

You guys lose. All four of you. I used to have five readers but now that The Commander is on the other side… (Unless she’s reading from there. Who knows? They must be busy over there tonight because I am home alone and no one has clinked ice cubes.) The GG rescued a beauteous photooo of the Old Cabin with a beeceeclette leaning up against it and a note from my great aunt Elizabeth on the backside. I do not know when the photoooo was taken but she died when I was in second grade.

I got to thinking about the Old Cabin today. I was paying for my grokkeries at my fave Plum Market today and I had some “fresh” ears of corn. The friendly young cashier remarked that she had no idea where the Plum was getting corn on the cob. “It’s from Florida,” I said. We’ve had an extremely unseasonably warm spring but it’ll be a while before there’s corn here in the Great Lake State.

I went on to say that it wouldn’t be as good as “Michigan” corn whereupon the young woman confided that she had grown up in Indiana and she would never choose “Michigan” corn over Indiana corn. I steadied myself and explained that what I had really meant by “Michigan” corn was corn grown *in* season by *local* farmers. Indiana? Michigan? Iowa? Florida? The last thing that I had been trying to do was compare states. Yeesh. Florida farmers can grow corn at this time of the year and I bet if you are *in* Florida and pick some up at a farm stand, it is really good. By the time it gets shipped up here to the Great Lake State, it is still pretty good but it isn’t quite as fresh any more. (I bought it anyway.)

As I was walking home, I thought about the times my grandaddy would arrive at the Old Cabin after work with a gallon or two of A&W root beer in big glass bottles and a bushel of fresh sweet corn that he obtained somewhere on the way out to the cabin. I loved corn on the cob as a kid and I think one reason is that we only got to eat it for a few weeks in the late summer. Back in those days I would usually eat two ears. We would dump the old dead cobs on my old coot’s plate. I’m not sure how that little “tradition” got started or why it was so darn funny…

Since I can’t scan that old old old photooo tonight, I will post [again] this “feeding time” photoooo of almost all my beach cuzzints. I know npJane loves this one. (She’s the very cute small one down at the end.) Maybe some others might not. I mean look at meeeee (second from left with glasses). What the heck was *I* thinking? I look like I’m ready to stick a fork into UKW… The Beautiful Jan is not present in the photo. Most likely she was off being the accomplished adult that the rest of us looked up to. Susie and Grinch are at the table but don’t show up in the photooo. That’s The Commander there serving the food. And that little centerpiece of hand-picked wildflowers? That would also be The Commander’s work.


Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Man, can I just go to bed already? I turned into a pumpkin a few hours ago but I had to keep going for for what seemed like forever.

I don’t exactly know exactly how to describe this phenomenon but it drives me nuts when I am at a meeting and somebody starts asking inane questions that lead the conversation off in some tangential direction into a black hole or whatever. I would much rather research my questions before asking them. When I do that, not only do I often I figure out the answer all on my own. I gain a more thorough knowledge of the question and whatever other issues surround it and even come up with more questions. Which I can then go off and research…

Not that it isn’t ever okay to ask questions. Of course it is! And I am also a firm believer that there is no such thing as a dumb question. Sometimes a carefully worded “dumb” question asked at just the right moment can clear up a whole room full of confusion. Sometimes it takes a bit of research to come up with that carefully worded “dumb” question.

All that was just some gobblety-gook that I had on my mind tonight. It was a pretty long day and I am trying to decompress. It’s interesting that certain people keep asking me what “level” I am on in Bejeweled in a sort of condescending way and then when I look over at what’s on their iPhone screen, I see… Bejeweled… I am playing the “zen” version. It kind of goes on forever and ever and it’s not a bad stress reliever for those moments when you are w-a-i-t-i-n-g for something and can’t focus on anything important. And I am one of those people who hates to w-a-i-t. Which I will surely be doing come Monday morning when I have to go in for jury duty and I don’t think I will even be able to take my phone in there with me so if I ever get outta there I probably won’t have any fingernails left. (I do not play Bejeweled ALL the time and I NEVER play it at work. The only “game” I allow myself to play at work is the NYTimes xword and that is only when I am working my way through some dense bit of analysis and need to multi-task a bit so my brain can rest before it works out the next bit of writing or flow-charting or whatever. (Or when the mother ship has taken over my laptop to install new security crap.)

Kayak Woman

Didja fergit yer ostrich jerky?

Monday, April 16th, 2012

I know y’all are really glad that I shared this loooooverly photooo with you. Especially those of you who have already seen it on facebook. When you go hiking on the North Country Trail and you fergit yer ostrich jerky, you have to scrabble around for food. I thought this thing looked a bit like a placenta or maybe an umbilical cord (except for all the appendages) but I was shouted down. Given that I have seen exactly *two* placentas in my life and that I was a little loopy both times (but NOT from drugs, thank you very much and I am NOT judging anyone who *did* use drugs during childbirth because we all do what we have to do), whaddoo I know?

Speaking of scrabbling around in the woods, I *finally* made a scrabble move with the three people I owed one. I am not quite sure if I’m in games with three or four people. (Mouse, do we have a game going right now? I fergit…) I am NOT in a scrabble game with MMCB because I think she probably about equals the Grand Poohbah and I am just not goin’ there. I know a couple other people who “cheat”. There are websites that “help” you make your letters into scrabble words, don’tcha know. I love my cheater friends and I don’t care if they “cheat” (actually I think it’s hilarious) but I’m not playin’ with them either. I can’t even make myself google crossword puzzle answers and I’m only playing against myself with those.

It is true that I am pretty good at crossword puzzles. I do the New York Times xword every day on my iPhone. I am nowhere near as good as those folks who compete in xword contests but I can usually knock down Monday through Wednesday in under 10 minutes and I can almost always finish the Thursday *on* Thursday. Friday and Saturday? Wellll… I return to them until I finish them. Sunday is all over the map as far as I’m concerned. I either finish on Sunday or I don’t.

’twasn’t always this way. One summer when I was home from college, I was on a crossword jag. I was working on a book of NYT crosswords and boy oh boy did I have a lot of blank squares in most of those puzzles. I also had a dastardly couple of uncles who were MUCH better than me at crossword puzzles. I learned very quickly to hide my crossword puzzle book when I wasn’t using it because if I didn’t, they would come along for coffee royale or whatever and FILL IN a few words for me plus they would sometimes leave snarky little notes. Miss those guys…

I am sure that I am not as good at crosswords as Duke or Don were but I am MUCH better than I used to be. Scrabble? Not so much.

Trespassers (and bears) will be eaten!

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

Once upon a time, when Lizard Breath was a very young child, she told the GG that she was afraid of burglars coming into the house. The GG told her, “Don’t worry about burglars. That’s *my* job.” And guess what? We have never had one (KNOCK ON WOOD!).

The only person who has ever broken into our house is Lizard Breath. She was a high school junior by then and we left her home “alone” for a weekend (we went to Houghton Lake). I was so worried about leaving her at HOME ALONE… My stoopid moom brain had this vision of my precious baby hanging out at home ALONE all weekend and a murderer breaking into my house to get at her. Thinking back, I am going to guess that she probably had company pretty much the entire weekend. Female and probably even some male folk. Who cares. She hung out with pretty responsible kids for the most part and I laughed when I heard that she locked herself out of the house and had to break in through the bathroom window. There were times when I was a kid and The Commander somehow locked us out of the moomincabin and I had to crawl through the kitchen window and go open the door. In case that wasn’t clear, The Comm was ALSO locked out, standing on the deck with grokkeries and laundry and whatever.

I got off on a long tangent there but I was thinking about how lucky my little girl was to have a dad whose main mission was to keep her safe, although I was a big part of that too. But her dad is a lot like my dad. My dad, the WWII B29 pilot type person who wasn’t afraid of anything all those years I was growing up.

It was was a bit disconcerting to me when my old coot got a bit older and I had kids and his reason for wanting me to put the glass windows back in the moomincabin doors on a hot night (complicated to explain those doors) was because he thought that a bear might come into the cabin. I mean, I am afraid of bears. Bears live in the forest near the moomincabin and I have seen their scat and yearlings are occasionally seen on various resident’s decks checking out the bird feeders, et al.

But bear sightings near the beach are pretty rare and when we were all kids we played outside all over the place and nobody ever worried about bears. I have yet to see a bear anywhere near the moominbeach but I think this fish has been mounted over the front door to ward them off. Maybe? Ernest and Alfred are also good bear deterrents. Alfred is also good at flushing out Pine Martins (and chasing them away).

Scrabble in the woods

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

Squingggg! Somebody out in San Fran had made a scrabble move on me. And is beating the pants off of me. Again. We were so far out in the woods I didn’t even know I had phone service. I didn’t move back yet. I am a slow scrabble player.

Squingggg! We took a side trip into where the beaver pond is and somebody out in Seattle or thereabouts had made a scrabble move on me. This is a new game but I’m sure I’ll get the pants beaten off me. I didn’t move back yet. I am a slow scrabble player.

By the way, that photooo didn’t quite turn out the way I wanted it to but I am standing more or less *below* the beaver dam and the water level is about at my eye level.

Sorted and flung all morning, then headed out to Brook Trout Pond to hike a section of the North Country Trail with our fave Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore Chapter folks. The last time I hiked this section was back in the 1990s, before the Shore-to-Shore chapter existed. It was pretty rugged and not particularly well marked in some areas. Much better today although they are working to re-route the main trail away from the beaver dam so we did a bit of good bushwacking. We ended our hike near the rock wall.

I am dead tired but in a good way. Good night.

High school my school

Friday, April 13th, 2012

There are all those days when I get up and do my morning walk and routine, head over to work for eight hours or whatever and then head home, do my evening routine and crash and burn. And then there are days like today… I did not get to sleep early last night. We were slodging around in front of the boob tube at the Group Home. I was just starting to nod off. And then. The back door opened. Who-what? Was it the duct-tape nut? Thankfully not. It was our own Lord of Linden and his beautiful bride The Beautiful Kathy. Up and at ’em. And so I didn’t get to bed until close to midnight. I have missed spending time with my in-laws at Houghton Lake the last year and I needed them last night.

Anyway we got up and drove north this morning. We sorted / flung for a while, made a trip to Woldemort, and then we got lunch at Clyde’s Drive-In. It was just as wonderful as it has always been. We somehow managed without cafeteria trays, washcloths or Lizard Breath to take orders before we got there.

After flinging / Woldemort / lunch / flinging / business, we headed out to the Moominbeach. Can I just say there is NO ICE in the bay this April?

I walked down to Doelle’s and back in bare feet and I walked in the blasted water a good portion of that trip. You guys, this is Lake Superior! A few years ago, I was walking on solid ice out by the second sandbar at this time of the year. Here’s the creek down at Doelle’s. Just because.

We hung out at the Moominbeach for a long time this afternoon. I got a couple of beach chairs out of the shed and we sat down there basking in the sun for what felt like forever. Or I did anyway. Other people engaged themselves with implements of too much fun for a while. Eventually we dragged ourselves back to town and dinner at the Palace Saloon.

Wouldn’t you know that on the way out, a woman standing in line for a seat caught my eye and I hers. The Beautiful Jackie J from high school and I think from Stinkin’ Lincoln too. We talked and as I was leaving I assured her that I would be at this summer’s 40th (urp) reunion. A couple weeks ago (at a mini-reunion) I told The Beautiful Mimi I’d be there too so I guess I am now committed to going. And that’s okay. As a teenager I had so much angst and so little self esteem I didn’t think anyone liked me. Now I know that it was mostly me. I still struggle with events that involve large numbers of people. Like more than two. <grin>

All in all a beautiful day. May we all have many more of those.

Elwood’s Emporium

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

First of all, we are at the Houghton Lake Group Home again. Yes, we were just here last weekend. I bored y’all with photooos at least a couple days last week. The plan for *this* weekend is actually to head to the yooperland. I got up this morning absolutely dreading the trip. I don’t mean that I dread going to the yooperland (again}, just that I was looking at a very very very looonnnnnngggg day and I could not see through to the end of it. Working all day, then driving home at rush hour, then driving up the I75 SUV Speedway through rush hour traffic plus another four hours. We have been back and forth to the yooperland more times than I can count in the last year and 4-5 of those trips were emergency trips.

I did away with the drive home by making the executive decision to work from home this afternoon. That way I would be pretty much ready to walk out the door when the GG got home. It’s a lot easier to hit the freeway heading north from the Landfill, which is on the northwest side of the Planet, than from my work which is way down south.

I then gave myself permission to make the decision about how far to drive tonight after we got on the road (I had the GG’s blessing). About halfway to Houghton Lake, I decided I wanted to stop at the Group Home for the night. I was done. I didn’t want to get up to the yooperland at nine o’clock or whenever. Getting up there tonight would’ve given us a few more hours of work time tomorrow but I needed to stop and because there was no reason we absolutely *needed* to get up there tonight (like to get to the hoosegow), we stopped. It is gorgeous here this evening and we will be able to relax, get to bed early (if we don’t get sucked in to some old Eddie Murphy movie like we did last weekend). And we’ll get done whatever we get done this weekend.

Elwood’s Emporium? I have two enduring memories of Elwood’s Emporium. One is of me and a co-worker encountering our boss Byron in Elwood’s Emporium wearing Blue’s Brothers style sunglasses. Honest to god, we spent about the next half hour doubled over in laughter. Why was that so funny? I dunno. We were so young and gay back then. The second memory is the day the ambulance arrived to pick Elwood up. His last words (that I know of) were, “I feel a little woozy”. Very sad. According to the GG, That Darn EPA has a fancier cafe these days.

I was on my high horse yesterday. Apologies to anyone who got caught in the crossfire (you know who you are)! I listened to NPR all the way up and it is on as I write this. <wink>

Where am I, how do I…

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Indeed. Things that are bugging me today…

The Buffet Rule (or whatever it’s called). I totally AGREE that the tax system should be more “fair”. The 1% should be paying a similar percentage of their income in taxes as all the rest of us. I am not a tax expert by any stretch of the imagination but I think we need to re-work the entire tax code to address the loopholes and inequities. Slowly and carefully, with *smart* tax and economic analysts to think through what some of the unintended consequences might be. This goes beyond anything related to what either political party is proposing. (That’s (partly) why I am an independent…) Alas, I am not confident that my rather utopian vision will ever happen.

(((We won’t discuss the help file “system” at my work. Fortunately I found the immediate bug in one of our old-skool javascript files. But.)))

Oh, Mitt… This etch-a-sketch attempt to woo women back to your party? I suppose it might work for some women but it will not work for me. Maybe women have lost more jobs than men since the infamous economic meltdown of a few years ago. So many people have lost jobs that it hardly matters which gender lost the most. But even if women did lose more jobs than men, what are YOU proposing to do to help women get back to work? I bet you don’t *have* a plan. (Psst. I don’t think the Dems do either…) Democrat? Republican? Bottom line, I am a WOMAN! If any of you *ssholes (in either party) want my vote, you will keep your hands off my body and my right to choose when or if to have children. For me, that issue comes before any of the voodoo economic “plans” you may have pulled out of your you-know-what. P.S. I also want to know what your plan is for *men* to have jobs. There are actually men who support families, don’tcha know…

Trickle down economics? Oh, please. I get the idea. It would be cool if it really worked. And maybe it did for a while. But then the folks at the top got greedy and we had the whole blasted mortgage greed meltdown. Let’s not go there again. Oh, and I am not talking about needing more regulation but…

I am now officially taking a long, circuitous route to and from work to avoid the loooonnnnng backups on my regular route. This is, in part, because we are building more big-box retail stores even as existing ones close and sit empty. This seems to be an unsustainable business model and maybe adds to why our country is having so many problems.

When will this insanity stop?